Community Water Center

Community-driven water solutions through organizing, education, and advocacy

April 2018 CWLN Newsletter



Don’t miss our next Network Briefing:  Thursday, May 24th 4-5pm

Network “briefings” are monthly conference calls that provide members the opportunity to connect with each other, crowd-source questions, and receive information from the comfort of their own homes. As a reminder, we changed service providers which means, we have a new conference call phone number and passcode. To join, dial (929) 432-4463, when prompted, enter the access code 5254-59-7515 followed by the pound key (#). Let Adriana know if you need a pre-paid calling card in order to call long-distance.

CWC is hiring canvassers!

Community Water Center is launching a campaign to engage thousands of voters in Tulare County this spring to ensure safe and affordable drinking water for all. We're looking for motivated individuals who desire to help transform their community and region. This is a 10-14 day campaign from mid-May to early June. The team will work five days per week (tentatively Wednesday through Friday from 3:30pm-8:30pm, and Saturdays and Sundays from 11:00am to 4:00pm). Hours and days may change depending on candidates' availability and learned best practices.

Please review the job description and share it widely with anyone you think may be interested in the canvassing position!

To apply, please submit the application form to and write “COC position -- [Your name]” in the email subject line, or submit the job form in person at the CWC Office in Visalia (900 West Oak Ave, Visalia, CA). For questions regarding this position, please email

CWC is hiring a Director of Organizing!

Community Water Center is looking to hire a Director of Organizing that will be primarily responsible for leading CWC’s organizing, base-building, and power-building  programs and activities. We are looking for candidates that are seasoned community organizers, strategic campaign planners, and experienced staff managers. We seek a candidate with grassroots, labor, or political organizing experience, as well as experience building, leading, and managing teams. This position is a regular, full-time, exempt employee position that will be based in the Visalia office.

Please review the job description and share it widely with anyone you think may be interested in Director of Organizing the position!

To apply, email resume and cover letter to:

Tulare County Candidate Forums

Tulare County Candidate Forum Coalition is hosting two upcoming forums, the first in Porterville on April 26, and the second in Orosi on May 3. The first forum in Porterville will have candidates for Board of Supervisors District 5 and CA State Assembly District 26. The second forum will have candidates for Board of Supervisors District 4 and CA State Senate District #14. These forums will be a great opportunity to hear local candidate responses to community members concerns and their ideas for advancing long term sustainable water solutions.

Date and time: Thursday, April 26th from 5:30-8:00PM

Location: Comision Honorifica Mexicana Americana (466 E. Putnam, Porterville, CA 93257)

Date and time: Thursday, May 3rd from 5:30-8:00PM

Location: Orosi High School Gym (41815 Rd 128, Orosi, CA 93647)

Uncontested Elections Report Summary

CWC just released a new report: "Untapped Opportunity: Local Water Boards and the Fight for Water Justice." The report found that in the southern San Joaquin Valley, 87% of local water board seats were uncontested in the most recent election -- that’s almost 500 local seats. When only one candidate runs for a seat, the seat does not appear on a ballot, and the election does not take place. In Fresno, Kern, Kings, and Tulare counties, 75 of 109 local water boards studied have not held a single election in the last four years.

Hundreds of thousands of residents in California’s unincorporated communities are served by local water boards responsible for ensuring that the community receives safe and affordable drinking water. These local water boards are key to implementing the Human Right to Water and ensuring safe, affordable drinking water for all, but CWC’s new research shows that, all too often, these water board seats -- so foundational to local democracy -- go uncontested.

With the release of this first-of-its-kind research, we kicked off efforts to share information about local water boards. In early April, we held two events -- a roundtable discussion at CSU Fresno, and a hands-on workshop at our Visalia office -- where we shared information and resources with community members, local leaders, and partners. If you’re interested in learning more about our research -- or if you’re a current water board member interested in getting involved -- please email Adriana Renteria ( or call our Sacramento office at 916-706-3346.

Representation on Water Board Elections Roundtable


(left to right) Samuel Molina, Mi Familia Vota; Lucy Hernandez, West Goshen Mutual Water Company; Arturo Rodriguez and his daughter, Poplar Community Services District; 

On April 7th CWLN hosted a roundtable focused on water board elections, representation in water boards and on some of the challenges board members face. Our panelists, Lucy Hernandez from the West Goshen Mutual Water Company and Arturo Rodriguez from the Poplar Community Services District shared about their motivations for joining their water boards, the challenges they have faced as board members, and on the importance for community members to be involved with their water board consistently— not just during times of crisis or rate increases. Mindy Romero from the California Civic Engagement Project shared results from her forthcoming report on the representation of Latinos and women on water boards and on Latino voter turnout in water board elections in Tulare, Kings, Kern, and Fresno Counties. The report found that though 65% of residents living in unincorporated communities were people of color, less than 15% of local water board members are Latino and percentages for women were lower. Kristin Dobbin UC Davis PhD candidate and former CWC staff presented on Charlotte Wiener’s research on uncontested water boards seats and shared the results mentioned in the above paragraph.  We ended the roundtable with a few next steps for attendees:

  1. Need to advance public understanding of water boards and of the importance of community engagement with board
  2. Get engaged in the local water board voting process (vote, help register others to vote, share voting information, etc)
  3. Run in a water board election yourself and make a direct change in your community
  4. Support board members once they join boards in order to ensure that they have the resources and support necessary to be successful in that new leadership position

How to Run in a Water Board Election

Following our roundtable on representation on water boards, CWLN hosted a hands on workshop that delved into the local water board election process. CWC gave an overview of the different types of water providers and explained differences in their governance structures. Participants shared what they knew about local water board member responsibilities and also listed the responsibilities that community members have in holding their water board accountable. We walked through the process and went over the documents needed to run in a water board election for a Community Services District and a Public Utilities District, two of the most common special districts that provide drinking water. On our website you can access the materials CWC shared with workshop attendees and are free to share them with anyone who may be interested in being a water board member themselves. Some of the materials on our website include:

  • Getting Involved in Your Local Water Board: An Overview — factsheet going over local water boards and why joining is important
  • Getting Involved in Your Local Water Board: How to Run in a Water Board Election — provides an overview of the process for filing for candidacy for Community Services Districts and Public Utilities Districts
  • 2018 Open Seats & Vacancies — spreadsheet with information on the number of open seats in several special districts in Fresno, Kern, Kings, and Tulare Counties
  • Visit our website to check it out:


Drinking Water Vulnerability Assessment Web Tool Kick off meeting

The Community Water Center received an award from the Department of Water Resources 2017 Groundwater Sustainability Planning and Projects Solicitations grant. A portion of this grant is intended to support the development of a publicly accessible, webtool which will map communities whose drinking water sources are vulnerable to changes in groundwater conditionsCWC’s primary goal is that this tool will be useful for groundwater management decision makers to proactively address community drinking water needs in their groundwater planning efforts. In particular, we aim for this tool to be used by groundwater sustainability agencies in the creation of groundwater sustainability plans. GSAs can use the tool to better understand which communities within their jurisdiction are vulnerable to drinking water issues and will be able to propose practices and projects to protect against further lowering and degradation of groundwater. On April 10th we held a kick off meeting with several stakeholders to receive feedback on the type of questions the tool should answer and on the type of data sets that should be included. We are still in the process of hearing from different stakeholders what type of tool would be most useful for their groundwater planning needs so if you have any feedback or would like to learn more, please let Adriana know.

CWC hosting CV SALTS Presentations

CV SALTS stands for Central Valley Salinity Alternatives for Long Term Solutions and is a coalition of agricultural, industry, regulatory, and environmental justice groups that have been doing studies for over 10 years to create a plan for how to address nitrate and salinity in the Central Valley. CWC, with a grant from the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB), has prepared an educational PowerPoint presentation about groundwater quality and potential funding sources to address water quality issues. Specifically, it describes the CV SALTS process that examined nitrate and salinity contamination in Northern Tulare County. CWC will be making presentations to various stakeholders groups throughout the year. If you think your water board or city council would benefit from learning more about this process of addressing nitrates and salinity, please let us know.

Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) Updates

On April 24th the Department of Water Resources (DWR) hosted a SGMA Assistance workshop in Clovis. If you were unable to attend, you can participate in a webinar that will be going over this information on April 27th from 12—2pm. Register online at

At the workshop, DWR gave an overview of their existing resources and launched a few new tools. Below are quick summaries, to learn more visit:

  • Both Facilitation Support Services (FSS) and Technical Support Services (TSS) are accepting applications on a rolling basis and are prioritizing critically overdrafted basins. If your basin is interested in receiving support coordinating MOUs, developing outreach plans, support with monitoring well installations, or for trainings on measuring groundwater levels, contact Amanda Peisch-Derby at gov. To learn more about these services, visit:  
  • SGMA Data Viewer – At this workshop DWR launched their new web tool which allows GSAs to access groundwater related information on one openly accessible mapping tool. The tool is organized by the 6 undesirable results of SGMA and GSAs can layer the datasets relevant to each undesirable to get a better picture of their basin. Once the data layers are chosen, a user can zoom into their basin and download the data. The data viewer also includes a new natural communities layer that maps vegetation and wetlands and allows you to see which ecosystems are reliant on groundwater. Explore the tool here: 
  • C2VSIM-FG Model (California Central Valley Groundwater-Surface Water Simulation Model-Fine Grid Model) –is a model that is widely used by planning agencies, including Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs), to be able to model the movement of groundwater. This model is based on historical inflows and precipitation, and land and crop use to simulate a response to projected future stresses, like droughts. DWR will be releasing the Fine Grid (FG) model which is an update of the C2VSIM model that includes improved data quality. The beta version will be released in late April and the final release will be fall 2018. 
  • Lastly, as a reminder: under subarticle 1 of the Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP) regulations, GSAs are required to include landuse planning information to develop GSPs. This includes city and county general plans and can also include any planning for growth your water system may be anticipating. Be sure you’re sharing your general plan with your GSA’s technical advisory committee or work with your county representative to ensure future landuse planning in your community is accounted for in your GSP.


First Annual Groundwater Sustainability Summit

The Department of Water Resources (DWR) is collaborating with the Groundwater Resources Association to host the First Annual Groundwater Sustainability Agency (GSA) Summit that will serve as a forum for GSA members to network and connect on technical and policy issues to address Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) implementation.  To find out more information and register click here.

Dates: June 6-June 7, 2018

Location: Hilton Sacramento Arden West, Sacramento, CA

Cost: $565

Featured resource of the month: Groundwater teaching materials for K-12

The Department of Water Resources offers a variety of free materials including worksheets, activity books, posters, videos, and curriculum guides to classroom teachers, homeschoolers, and non-formal educators. These resources include publications about groundwater. Most materials are available both in hardcopy and electronically. Resources include:

  • Groundwater: An Essential Part of California’s Water Budget - Poster
  • KIDS: Discover Groundwater and Springs
  • All About Water K-3 Water Activities

For more information or to order materials, visit DWR’s education website, or water safety webpage, or library.

Grant opportunities for water providers: WaterSMART Grants

The Department of Interior is currently accepting applications for three available grants. Eligible entities for the grants are: States, Indian tribes, irrigation districts, water districts, or other organizations with water or power delivery authority located in the Western United States or United States Territories as identified in the Reclamation Act of June 17, 1902, as amended. Below is more information on each grant:

Water and Energy Efficiency Grants for FY18 – $16 million

  • Applications Due: May 10, 2018
  • This grant provides funding for projects that result in quantifiable water savings and support broader water reliability benefits. These projects conserve and use water more efficiently; increase the production of hydropower; mitigate conflict risk in areas at a high risk of future water conflict; and accomplish other benefits that contribute to water supply reliability in the western United States.
  • For more information, visit the funding opportunity description:

Water Marketing Strategy Grants for FY18 – $3 million

  • Applications Due: July 17, 2018
  • This grant supports collaborative planning efforts to develop water markets that will proactively address water supply reliability and increase water management flexibility. Water markets between willing buyers and sellers can be used to help water users meet demands efficiently in times of shortage, thereby helping to prevent water conflicts. By encouraging collaboration and input to the planning process from a range of stakeholders, this FOA will expand the lines of communication between Reclamation and local communities, and among the community stakeholders themselves, restoring community trust.
  • For more information, visit the funding opportunity description:

Small-Scale Water Efficiency Project for FY18 – $75,000

  • Applications Due: July 31, 2018
  • This grant supports specific small-scale water efficiency projects that have been prioritized through planning efforts led by the applicant. These projects conserve and use water more efficiently; mitigate conflict risk in areas at a high risk of future water conflict; and accomplish other benefits that contribute to water supply reliability in the western United States.
  • For more information, visit the funding opportunity description:

Upcoming events

Date: 4/27. Time: 12Pm-2PM. Event: DWR SGMA Assistance Workshop. Location: ONLINE. Cost: Free. More info: 

Date: 5/10. Time: 6PM-8PM. Event: AB54: Ethics Training For Mutual Water Companies. Location:  Hampton Inn and Suites 1100 N. Cheery Street, Tulare, California 93274. Cost: FREE. More info:

Date: 5/17. Time: 10AM-12PM. Event: What you need to know about the new Groundwater Management Act. Location: ONLINE. Cost: FREE. More info:

Date: 5/17. Time: 10AM-12PM. Event: Best practices in the Home Inspection Process. Location: ONLINE. Cost: $25. More info:

Date: 5/23. 8:30AM-3:30PM. Event: AB54 & AB1234 en Espanol. Location: Wyndham Visalia 9000 W Airport Dr. Visalia, California 93277. Cost: FREE. More info:

Community Water Center · 900 W Oak Ave, Visalia, CA 93291, United States 
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